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By Stephanie Bentivoglio - 3rd and 4th Grade Educator

What do Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and Super Mario all have in common?

A great adventure story!

The students in 3rd and 4th grade at Sycamore School have been diving deep into the genre of adventure across different media for their new thematic project. They’ve been examining famous stories in film, literature, video games, and mythology to find out what story elements create the best adventures. The students have been working in small groups to create their own imaginative, fictional worlds. They will soon be writing their own narrative games, also known as Choose Your Own Adventure stories, that will take place in the worlds they created.

For this blog post, the students will do the talking! Below are interviews with the kids while they worked on their project this week.

Stephanie: What makes a great adventure story?

AV: You need imagination!

CBR: You also need a main character, a quest, a villain, a dangerous world, and a resolution to the story.

Stephanie: Oh, can you tell me more about what a quest is?

CBR: A quest is a goal for the hero. It’s usually to save the world or something that they care about.

Stephanie: What makes a good quest?

PW: Well, it has to be an adventure. They need to travel far to distant lands.

JM: In every adventure I know, there is usually someone who goes with the hero on their journey.

CTT: Oh, and it can’t be easy! There is always a problem that needs to be solved by the end.

Stephanie: Can you tell me about the fictional worlds you’ve created and your plan for your individual stories so far?

PW: We made a world that is part magical and part future. Regular people live in the future world.

BH: Dragons, sirens, and terrible monsters live in the magical world.

Stephanie: Can you tell me a bit about the quest your characters will go on?

PW: My character Zane is trying to defeat Null, he’s the bad guy who wants to get rid of all dragons and make the whole world modern. Zane and his friends [Kelsie and Everett] have to find and reunite the air, fire, lightning, rock, and water dragons. The dragons will use a gem to create a powerful blast and defeat Null.

Stephanie: Thank you for sharing! Would another group like to share their fictional world and their quests?

CBR: Ours is a world split into two sides, the Fire Heads and Ice Hearts. They are not friends, but they once were a long time ago. They are now separated by a wall. My character will go on an adventure to get to the other side of the wall and make peace between the two sides.

CTT: In my story, the main character was born in the fire kingdom but their parents are from the ice kingdom. There is a rule that you can’t be friends with the other side. So you have to go on a journey with your friends to find your parents and make peace between both kingdoms.

Stephanie: Thank you for sharing! What is our last group doing?

JM: Ours is a zombie apocalyptic world with danger everywhere you look!

TB: You start your journey at a party. All of the sudden the lights go out, and you wake up inside of a video game that’s a zombie apocalypse.

Stephanie: What is the quest your characters need to go on?

TB: You need to defeat the zombie king so that you can exit the game.

Stephanie: Let’s talk a little bit about the process we’ve worked through so far. What was it like to collaborate with your group?

CBR: I like that you can collaborate with your partners because if you don’t have an idea then they can help you!

CTT: I really liked having groups because they can help.

PW: It’s fun, but really hard. In our group we are doing stories where all of our characters work together, so we have to coordinate.

BH: So for example, if a friend called another in one of our stories, you both have to talk about the phone call in your own story from your character’s point of view.

Stephanie: How has it been so far planning a Choose Your Own Adventure story with multiple endings and storylines?

BH: Pretty hard! A Choose Your Own Adventure isn’t like a normal story so it’s hard for the writer. You have to make separate decisions.

AV: Sometimes a little overwhelming to do in one month!

TB: I think it’s very fun, because you get to experience doing many different things. For example, in a normal story Harry Potter can walk to the market. But in our stories, you can ask the reader “Which market do you go to?” It makes the audience feel like they are in the story.

CBR: Yeah, you have to write in second person which feels different. You have to say “YOU go to the market.”

Stephanie: We looked at the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice. The ending was a bit strange, wasn’t it? It didn’t end very well for Orpheus, and we talked about how we could have ended it differently to change the theme of the story. How does the ending change how the reader feels?

BH: Basically, a sad ending will make people feel disappointed but if it’s happy they think “Yay! We accomplished our goal and what we wanted to do!”

Stephanie: Thank you all for your answers! To wrap this up, what are some of your favorite adventure stories?

CBR: Harry Potter!

BH: Oh! The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from Narnia.

CTT: The Worst Witch and Prodigy.

JM: Johnny Test!

PW: Minecraft and Pokemon. Also Forza Horizon 5.

TS: I like Zelda and Pokemon.

MMR: Prodigy! Also Geronimo Stilton books.

At Sycamore School, our students share their work with the community at our Exhibition of Learning. The 3rd and 4th graders will be creating their Choose Your Own Adventure stories on a digital platform called Twinery. It’s a tool that can be used to create interactive narrative games through simple coding. Below you can see what the working area of the platform looks like, while the players get to see the image on the right. The blue choices are clickable, and you can add images, music, and videos to entertain your audience while they play through your story.

From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Beowulf, adventure stories are some of our oldest known pieces of literature. This genre has been beloved by people of all ages throughout history, and some of our most famous franchises are part of this category. Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Marvel have reached so much success because of the incredible universes they have created for audiences. With this project, we hope that the students will start to learn what it takes to build worlds that have the potential to bring imagination and entertainment to audiences around the world.


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